Three generations of old boys, their old crimes, old mothers, and absent fathers.
Antony Shelley, head of chambers and master of barrister Trish Maguire’s universe, asks Trish to help out his friend Henry Buxton with a spot of discreet inquiry. Wealthy, well-connected Buxton is chairman of the board of the Gregory Bequest, a small museum of paintings collected in the dark days of WWI by Jean-Pierre Gregoire, the mysterious father of another member of the old boys’ network, elderly Ivan Gregory. Buxton’s godson Toby Fullwell, director of the Gregory Bequest, has recently sold a Pieter de Hooch for five million pounds the museum didn’t need, and without raising a fuss among the old boys, Buxton wants to know why. The Fullwell family isn’t new to Trish. Their two sons attend school with her half-brother David, who’s doing a school report on WWI. Fortified by research on life in the trenches that helps her understand the unfortunate history of Ivan Gregory’s parents, Trish perseveres and, in spite of well-bred obstructions, finds out more of what Buxton doesn’t want to know: forgeries, money laundering, and corruption.
Cooper excels at depicting the effects of terror on the weak and the strong; happily, Trish (Out of the Dark, 2002) is one of the latter.